Daily Archives: June 4, 2008

As farm bill becomes law, COOL concerns continue

As farm bill becomes law, COOL concerns continue

Janie Gabbett

American Meat Institute

With the bulk of the Farm Bill becoming law last week, mandatory country-of-origin labeling (sometimes referred to as COOL or COL) will finally become a reality. And among the concerns that the U.S. beef industry has is possible retaliation from Mexico if the new labels dull U.S. taste buds to beef from Mexican cattle.

“There is a possibility the market might somehow discount those products with lower pricing or consumers won’t want to buy them. Then Mexico might somehow want to retaliate against U.S. beef, and that would be a tragedy,” warned U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Regional Director for Mexico Chad Russell on a teleconference last week.


High Corn Prices and the Economics of Creep Feeding and Early Weaning

High Corn Prices and the Economics of Creep Feeding and Early Weaning

Troy Smith

Beef Quality Connection

The economics of feeding grain-based supplements to nursing calves has long been a subject of debate among cow-calf producers. Now, high grain prices lend more fuel to the naysayers’ argument. Providing creep feed to boost weaning weights becomes harder to justify, particularly if predictions for lower calf prices prove accurate.

It was easier to argue in favor of creep feeding when a ration could be built with grain costing 5 or 6 cents per pound and a 550-pound steer calf fetched $1.30 per pound. Things are different now. However, Ohio State University animal Scientist Francis Fluharty says creep feeding calves might still work for some producers.


Fishin’ for Koreans

Fishin’ for Koreans

Steve Cornett

Beef Today Blog

This Korean beef trade thing—see the Tuesday morning AP dispatch — is like watching your bobber while a turtle eats your bait. Yes, it’s a bite! No, it’s not a bite! No wait, maybe it is a bite.

What do you think we should do about it? We have a signed deal in hand that says the Koreans will import beef, including beef over 30 months of age. The scientists say it’s safe. Our own people eat it daily. There is no reason for the Koreans to spurn U.S. beef.

But President Lee, newly-elected and obviously inclined toward friendship with the U.S., has buckled under the pressure of protestors. We’ve got a Free Trade Agreement, that Mr. Lee wisely supports, on hold, but the Senators who represent beef country are firm in their intent to stop it if the beef thing isn’t resolved.

So what do you think we should do about it?


Voluntary Standards for a Forage-Fed Livestock Marketing Claim

Voluntary Standards for a Forage-Fed Livestock Marketing Claim

Dr. Mark Wahlberg, Extension Livestock Specialist, VA Tech

Following is copied from the Federal Register in which the voluntary standards for forage-fed livestock marketing claim is described. The voluntary part of the claim means that the standards are available for use by producers if they choose to do so. It is optional. These standards went into effect in October of 2007.

The production methods that qualify for the Grass (Forage) Fed label do not allow any grain feeding, including grain that may be a component of a harvested feed (such as grain-crop silage). However, it is not prohibited to use any health-care products, such as dewormers or antibiotics. Notice the terminology is not “Pasture-Fed”, therefore the Grass (Forage) Fed animals may be fed harvested forages outside of the normal growing season.

Q&A: Can you tell me something more about the disturbances in ovulation in beef cows?

Q&A: Can you tell me something more about the disturbances in ovulation in beef cows?

Dr. Rick Rasby, Professor of Animal Science, University of Nebraska

Q: Can you tell me something more about the disturbances in ovulation in beef cows?

A: Beef cows usually have a 21 day estrous cycle with day 0 being the first day of the cycle and day 21 being the day of ovualtion. There are a number of items that can disrupt the 21 day cycle. Cows after calving will typically not cycle for 50 to 55 days after calving. During that time they are repairing their reproductive tract for another pregnancy.


The After Effects of Mandatory COOL

The After Effects of Mandatory COOL


With a new farm bill now on the books, USDA soon should be rolling out all of the important info on mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) so that producers can begin preparing for the implementation data. While important, deadlines and details probably aren’t what most producers are really curious to know, however.

According to Troy Marshall of Beef magazine The most obvious question is: “Will mandatory COOL decrease the importation of beef from foreign countries?” That’s primarily feeder cattle from Mexico and fed cattle from Canada.

Certainly, in the short term, he writes, as nobody wants to be holding inventory if that inventory might be devalued, but I’ve had trouble with the cause and effect for quite some time.


Drylot Feeding For Beef Cows

Drylot Feeding For Beef Cows


Conventional wisdom tells us that low-cost cow/calf operations are frequently characterized by minimal use of harvested feedstuffs. Letting cows harvest more of their own feed, through combinations of warm- and cool-season pastures, annual forage crops, and extensive utilization of field crop residues or stockpiled grass, can typically result in significant savings in the total feed bill.

On the other hand, successful cattle producers are becoming increasingly aware that profitability can hinge on their ability to adapt to ever-changing conditions, and a willingness to think ‘out of the box’ when necessary. For cow/calf operators, a serious evaluation of feeding options can sometimes call for an extreme shift away from a grazing-intense program. In fact, the industry is seeing a limited, but definitely increasing, number of producers feeding a winter drylot ration to their cows. This may be due to the current availability or price of different feeds, or a need or desire to get the cows off the pasture and/or closer to home. And this year, we will see a lot of animals forced in off their traditional grazing areas due to the drought.